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Navajo Frybread Indian Tacos
Field Trips and Food
Yá ‘ át ‘ ééh! Welcome! Indian Tacos, sometimes known as Navajo Tacos, are made using fry bread instead of tortillas. Frybread links generation with generation and also connects the present to the painful past of Native American History. Frybread, also spelled Fry Bread, is a flat, soft dough fried or deep-fried in oil, shortening or lard. Frybread can be eaten alone with various toppings such as: honey, jam, butter or syrup. Frybread can also be made into tacos. This was the first time I have ever made fry bread or eaten fry bread.
First of all, fry bread is extremely easy to make. I mean super easy to make. Second, fry bread is absolutely delicious. Super, duper delicious…right up there with doughnut delicious. I made Indian Tacos for dinner and my hubby and I devoured them. For breakfast the next day, I made fry bread and served the frybread warm with honey and a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Well, what can I say…..I am talkin’ delicious.
Navajo Fry Bread History
Navajo Frybread originated 150 years ago, when the United States forced Indians living in Arizona to make the 300 mile journey known as the “Long Walk.” The Navajo were relocated to New Mexico, onto land that couldn’t easily support their traditional staples of beans and vegetables. Indian fry bread is a tradition to the Navajo, and comes with a story of great pain and suffering. Even though the tradition of making fry bread is common among many Southwestern Tribes, it’s the Navajo who developed the recipe.
The Navajo dinetah or homeland was bordered by the four sacred mountains, from Northeastern Arizona, Western New Mexico and North into Utah and Colorado. Around 1846, large numbers of pioneers moved into the area and the cavalry came with them. The Long Walk of the Navajo also called the Long Walk to Bosque Redondo, was an Indian removal effort by the US Government in 1863 and 1864.
The 300 Mile Walk
By the 1860’s, more settlers pushed westward and they met with fierce resistance from the Apache and Navajo, who fought to maintain control of the land. In September 1863, Kit Carson was dispatched into Navajo land to retrieve a surrender. When no Navajo came to meet him, he ordered the burning of the land. Attempts were made to starve out the Navajo and many were captured and taken to Bosque Redondo near Fort Sumner.Hundreds starved on the 300 mile walk and more would die in the crowded camps.
Frybread came out of Necessity
The government supplies of lard, flour, salt, sugar, baking powder or yeast and powdered milk were often rancid. Fry bread came from these few foods provided during the 4 years of captivity. Since that time, it has become the traditional food at most Pow Wows of numerous tribes. To some, Indian Fry Bread is a sacred tradition. It is to be consumed by the people until the earth has again become purified. Fry Bread is the official bread of South Dakota.
Navajo Code Talkers, Yá ‘ át ‘ ééh! Welcome~
Chester Nez, last of the original Navajo Code Talkers, died in June of 2014. In the United States history, the story of the treatment of Native Americans is tragic. Settlers took their land and misunderstood their customs, but during World War II the US Government needed help from the Navajo people. Although they had suffered at the very hands of the US Government, the Navajo People proudly answered the call to duty.
Most codes during war time are often broken. Yet the Navajo Code Talkers confused the enemy by talking in their native tongue and in codes. Because of these reasons, the Navajo Codes were never broken. Catholic missionaries who were sent to help the Native American people, moved off their homeland and relocated to reservations, discouraged the Native American people from speaking in their native tongue.
Navajo Code Talkers
Communication is essential during war. Everyone must stay in contact with each other to know when and where to attack or when to fall back. If the enemy were to hear these conversations, the element of surprise would be lost, and the enemy could change their position and get the upper hand, but the Navajo Codes were never broken. The Navajo Code Talkers played a large role in the Allied success in the Pacific. The Navajo had created a code the enemy was unable to decipher. To read more about the Navajo Code Talkers and to learn more about the Navajo People go to: Navajo Code Talkers
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup additional flour for shaping
- 2 cups oil for frying
- 1 pound ground beef, brown in skillet, drain off fat
- 1 packet taco seasoning mix, add to ground beef in skillet
- 3/4 cup water, add to ground beef mixture, bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer 10 minutes
- Optional ingredients:
- shredded cheddar cheese
- chopped tomato
- chopped red onion
- shredded lettuce
- sliced avocado
- sliced pickled jalapenos
- sour cream
- taco or hot sauce
- honey, butter, jam
- cinnamon-sugar mixture
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. Combine milk and water in a separate cup. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture, and stir with a fork to mix well. You will have a soft dough. Flour your counter top with the remaining 1/4 cup flour and coat your hands, too. Shape the dough into a cylinder and cut into 4 pieces. Pat each piece out into a circle about 1/3" thick and 6" across. Heat the oil to 350 degrees and fry bread one at a time for about 2 minutes on each side. Drain upright. Serve topped with meat, beans, cheese and other toppings of your choice or serve with sweet toppings of your choice.